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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio sticks with Senate payroll tax cut plan as House GOP prepare for a showdown



House Republicans are making good on their pledge to oppose the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits deal approved overwhelmingly Saturday by the Senate, Florida's Marco Rubio included.

Tuesday will be thick with tension as the GOP leaders decide how to proceed. There was talk that House Speaker John Boehner and co. may not allow a vote on the plan. Boehner says the two-month extension is a small step and wants a yearlong extension. Democrats say he's not serious and is caving, again, to the tea party members who have rejected additional unemployment benefits.

"I believe they never wanted to come to the table," Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, said in an interview Monday. Castor said if the deal collapses, 147,000 Floridians would lose unemployment benefits, plus most taxpayers would see their taxes increase.

Watch for something to get resolved at the last minute, as has become the norm in Washington. But for now House Republicans are calling the shots.

"This is abysmal and again evidences the abject lack of leadership emanating from President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who praised this failure," Florida Rep. Allen West said of the deal Monday. "President Obama and Senator Reid are playing political games while the American people are suffering under their failed economic policies."

Rubio joined the majority of his Senate colleagues in support of the bill. His spokesman said Monday he stands by the plan.

"Look I’m always in favor of longer-term permanent solutions, but this is as far we could get on their side," Rubio told NBC Friday night. "On the other hand, I think we have a pretty stable solution when it comes to the issue of the pipeline, and hopefully the president will make the right decision that it's in our national interest.”

[Last modified: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 3:48am]


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